Delta continues 5 year losing streak at the Prestigious Freddie Awards! Time for a change?

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Karen Zachary Managing Director, SkyMiles Global Program Management at Delta Air Lines From the 2015 Atlanta Freddie Awards

5 years in a row now. An impressive losing record. Then again, SkyMiles is becoming less and less relevant day by day and much of it is self inflicted. For those not aware, the Freddie Awards is the premiere loyalty award voted on by folks like you and me, thus it shows what “we” the users feel about who is the best. For airlines the categories and winners for 2017 are:

  • Program of the Year — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
  • Best Elite Program — American Airlines – AAdvantage
  • Best Promotion — Avianca – LifeMiles
  • Best Customer Service — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards
  • Best Redemption Ability — Southwest Airlines – Rapid Rewards

This list is a clone of the 2016 winners other than the final one that Southwest won. While I am not a fan of Southwest, their program that is purely revenue based is simple to understand and clearly many folks like that. But let’s get back to Delta and why they were NOT EVEN MENTIONED again this year.


Program of the Year. No one trusts SkyMiles. They make changes without notice again and again. If you have no trust in a program they have no chance of winning anything. Clearly hiding the award charts that they do in fact use does not help things either. Add to this a broken booking page on Delta.dumb with additive pricing and no stopovers on awards and you have the clear as day reason they have lost 5 years in a row now.

Credit to TheForwardCabin

Photo credit to @TheForwardCabin

Best Elite Program. You know this was the one hope I had Delta could at least be on the board for a chance to win as the positive changes to the Medallion program over the past year have been good like the +1 upgrades at the same level as the elite. Maybe the Choice Benefits additions will mean they have a small shot next year (these changes apply to this year so would be voted on for next year’s awards).

Best Promotion. SkyMiles would have to have value to win here. Even when Delta does have any kind of promotion we all just go – MEH – because there are almost always better point values to be had vs. SkyMiles. SkyMiles only have value if you get them free. That is saying a ton!

Best Customer Service. I think the 3 meltdowns over the past year (granted two were this year) had an impact on voting and why Delta did not win this year nor will they win next year either. Time for some rebuilding work in customer service.

Best Redemption Ability. Sure it is simple to find award space on Delta if you are willing to grossly over pay i.e. pay LEVEL 3,4 or 5 for your award. But getting that kind of pathetic value for your points does not say “best” in any way. The monthly “flash sales” are nice but not enough. Also the recent change with partners to charge more hurts as well.

So there you are. Delta’s 5 year streak of winning nothing continues. Will it end next year? I really doubt it. The only thing that will impact SkyMiles is for the general public to wake up like we all have that the program is now all dead and “pointless”. I do not fly Delta for SkyMiles nor should anyone else. When the masses get this too – that is when something will change but that is not now! – René